For this post, editor hiraeth has prepared an overview of her experience editing in the science categories. Enjoy!
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I'm a collector. In the same way that other people may collect stamps, coins or fossils, I collect websites. As an editor with the ODP, I spend a lot of time finding sites, labelling them, listing them and rearranging them. I am constantly on the lookout for new specimens and I open my collections to the public so that they can benefit from all the good and useful sites I have found.
My favourite collection is Flora and Fauna. I could happily spend all my editing time adding to and classifying sites about the vast range of animals, plants, fungi and bugs that exist. The category has expanded considerably under my curatorship. During the last year I have been involved in a project to replace the English language subcategory names such as Snakes with their scientific equivalent, Serpentes. Because these names are less familiar to many users of the directory, there is a an A to Z index and also links in most subcategories to guide people to the correct location. The more scientifically knowledgeable may argue that classification has moved on and that the structure used in the directory is no longer up to date. I think this is a valid criticism, but as new ideas on taxonomy are constantly being put forward and revised, there is no consensus view and the category is likely to remain as it is for the foreseeable future.
There are not many submissions to this part of the directory but some sites are suggested and these are mostly useful additions that will enlarge the scope of the category. However, a member of the public may, for example, suggest a gallery of photographs of unidentified butterflies found somewhere in the tropical rainforests of South America. I will either send this to Wildlife or the appropriate Science & Environment category in Regional.
Another category in which I edit is Animal Health. Here, I have enjoyed adding a large number of sites on diseases of pets, livestock and wild animals. Sometimes I get distracted. While looking for sites on parasitic diseases I find myself adding sites on mosquitoes or ticks or bacteria to Flora and Fauna. Or fungal diseases may lead me to Flora and Fauna again or to crops or livestock in Agriculture where I also have permission to edit.
A large part of Animal Health consists of sites about veterinary medicine and alternative medicine. The latter is broken down into sites about therapies and therapists in fields ranging from animal acupuncture to chiropractic, massage therapy and aromatherapy. Although Health/Animal is a topical category, the subcategory Veterinarians is broken down regionally and includes over 2500 individual practices from all over the world. (In the USA, even when quite small, these seem to call themselves animal hospitals, but in other parts of the world, clinic or surgery is the more usual term, and animal hospital is reserved for a specialist referral centre.)
In contrast to Flora & Fauna, this part of the directory receives plenty of suggestions. Listing veterinarians in their correct location is quite straightforward. Nearly every vet with a working website should be listable under our guidelines. Sites submitted to other parts of Animal Health are often more problematic. Some are a mass of advertisements in which a small amount of not very useful information is engulfed. These do not get accepted in accordance with our site selection criteria. Others are supplied by people whose pets have suffered from various conditions and who now consider themselves experts on the subject. These sites can be listed if they contain sufficient good quality information. Other submissions are really about the keeping of pets, with a little information on health thrown in for good measure. I usually send these across to Pets for consideration by another editor. Some sites are not in English and get sent to the appropriate language category of World, and some have no connection with animal health whatsoever. These are quite a waste of time. Rather than deleting them, I have to search for a suitable category to send them to, a job that could have been better done by the submitter who knew exactly what the site was about!
Besides these categories I edit in many other categories which I would love to tell you about, but time presses, and I had better get back to my collections and add a few more exhibits!
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Exploring DMOZ: Animal Collections
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